Rectifying its place in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference standings is goal No. 1 for the Oak Park and River Forest girls' basketball team, who recently finished third at the Mundelein Holiday tournament.
The Huskies (12-4, 2-3) are already looking forward to back-to-back games against conference leaders Hinsdale Central and Lyons Township on Jan. 14th and 15th.
"We need to step things up in our conference," said OPRF head coach Adrian Newell. "We need to take on the big teams and see where we stand. The conference is very good this year, and we need to make a name for ourselves in it."
OPRF has some momentum coming away from Mundelein with a 3-1 tournament mark. The Huskies' only loss came by way of the host 75-62, despite a tremendous offensive performance by Brittney Marshall. The senior forward scored 29 points.
"We just didn't get enough scoring from other players in that game," said Newell. "Everyone else went cold, while Brittney was on fire."
The team heated up in the following game. Ashleen Bracey led the Huskies to a 61-59 win over Rolling Meadows, pouring in a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds. Marshall added 19 points to go along with her seven assists.
Bracey and Marshall again led the Huskies in a clobbering of Glenbrook North 63-32. Marshall had 20 points, while Bracey chipped in 10.
OPRF opened the tournament with a 58-46 win over Highland Park. Marshall led the scoring with 20 points, while Kate Corkle added nine for the Huskies, who took a 28-23 lead at halftime.
The Huskies closed out the tournament with a 46-36 victory over Niles West. Three OPRF players scored in double-digits. Marshall led with 17 points; she also had six rebounds. Bracey tallied 15 points, and Amber Slaughter 11.
The Huskies' quest to climb the conference ladder may be hindered with recent injuries to key players Jonay Foster and Sara Bunch. Both endured shoulder injuries during the tournament, and were scheduled to visit orthopedic doctors this week. Their status is questionable for today's game (Wednesday) against Willowbrook at Fenton, and Friday's conference match-up at Downers Grove North (7:30 p.m.).
Newell said she hopes to have everyone healthy for the upcoming showdowns with Lyons (12-4) and Hinsdale Central (13-3), who is currently undefeated in the conference and ranked 15th in the state.
"We need to find a way to beat those teams," she said, "or at least one of them."